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We spoke with Valérius Hub about the origins of Achilles and the Tortoise story

Throwback, A Partner interview: How an international sustainable partnership came to be

“An interview by Valérius HUB, with the 3 founders of Achilles and the Tortoise, brought together by a mutual passion for a regenerative, slow fashion system in which humans and NatureValerius HUB thrive together.” 

How did this partnership with responsible fashion maker Valérius start?

About four years ago we came into contact with Junius. We are proud to be a partner of theirs ever since. Junius helps us to find the most innovative techniques and to develop the most sustainable products. We have been following Valérius HUB and Valérius 360 for a while now to stay informed and get inspired for the latest developments in sustainable fashion.

How did the three of you meet, and how did the idea to start a sustainable fashion label come up?

Achilles and the Tortoise (AATT) is an Amsterdam slow fashion and lifestyle brand founded in 2019 by three friends. The idea of starting a slow fashion label did not come about overnight but had been haunting our minds for years.

Don and Matthijs have been friends since the marble age. Both grew up abroad before meeting in Wageningen (The Netherlands), Don in Indonesia, and Matthijs in Botswana. A common worldly outlook on life connected them from an early age. The shared passion for fashion and the urge of both to leave this world a better place continued to grow as they grew older.

Through common friends, Don and Matthijs met Willem, who had the same passion, ideals, and dreams. The friendship that developed there was, in retrospect, the birth of Achilles and the Tortoise. Because it soon became clear that Willem's 'maker' talent was the missing puzzle piece to bring all ideas to life.

achilles and the tortoise sustainable production

Where would you like to see your brand in a few years?

We hope for a more equitable and regenerative fashion system in which Human and Nature thrive. And this is definitely possible! But only if we break down the 'old' fast fashion mechanism that’s only about growth, competition, and resource depletion and instead build a slow fashion system. As opposed to fast fashion, slow fashion is a way of designing to last. Although slow fashion is not a commonly known term by the masses, it is gaining traction within some pockets of society. 

Slow fashion-inspired brands are popping up more and more these days and that makes us very hopeful. Big transitions take decades, but can suddenly go very fast when the tipping point is reached. Together with Valérius HUB, Junius and many more amazing slow fashion pioneers can accelerate this tipping point. We just need to continue showing the world that sustainability, style, quality, and identity can go hand in hand, proving that environmentally-responsible clothing can be both fashionable and long-lasting.

What are your hopes for the coming years of conscious fashion?

Achilles and the Tortoise is currently one of the most ambitious slow fashion brands in the Netherlands. In the next few years, AATT is expanding its range to eventually become a full-fledged store for a completely sustainable wardrobe. We continue bringing people and nature closer together and contribute to a fairer and more circular fashion system in which people and nature thrive! 

Although the profits of most companies are used to enrich shareholders, in the coming years we are hoping to build a company that uses its profits to allow people and nature to flourish instead. In a few years, the whole world will know Achilles and the Tortoise, and young and old alike will find inspiration for a quirky, sustainable, and fashionable lifestyle.

Buy less, buy better, buy sustainable at Achilles and the Tortoise.